Jun 24, 2016

The Sex of Self-Hatred

Despite the fact that he is a largely forgotten self-loathing Jew whose theories regarding Jewry were so subversive that they were even, to some extent, promoted by the National Socialists and eccentric antisemitic figures like Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, tragic Viennese philosopher Otto Weininger—a troubled and intellectually intense mensch that committed suicide in 1903 at the premature age of 23 shortly after the fairly lukewarm release of his magnum opus Sex and Character (1903) aka Geschlecht und Character, which would eventually inspire many important Occidental thinkers, most notably Austrian-British-Jewish philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and Swedish playwright August Strindberg—has inspired at least two fairly sympathetic modern films about his singular spiritual struggle, rather refined sexual ambivalence, singular self-hatred, and rather lonely yet strangely poetic self-slaughter, among other things.  Indeed, both Weiningers Nacht (1990) aka Weininger's Last Night directed by Austrian actor and sometimes director Paulus Manker (Schmutz aka Dirt, Der Kopf des Mohren aka The Moor's Head) and The Sex of Self-Hatred (2004) directed by Canadian experimental filmmaker Solomon Nagler (Gravity and Grace, Black Salt Water Elegy) not only happen to be about the great self-exterminating antisemitic semite and the somewhat shadowy circumstances surrounding his suicide, but also are indubitably two of the most intriguing films ever made about a philosopher, but then again it takes a particularly preternatural artist to even consider directing a film about such an infamous, albeit largely forgotten, figure who is undoubtedly the antithesis of the archetypal Hollywood hero.  After all, the last thing the Jewish studio heads and producers in Tinseltown want to do is make a film about an insanely impenetrable self-hating Israelite that argued that most Jews males are soulless pansies that think and act like lecherous neurotic women, but I digress.  Certainly, of the two films, Nagler's is the most overtly and hermetically Hebraic, but such is to be expected from a Jewish auteur that has made a number of films with strong Jewish themes.

An important influence on early twentieth-century intellectual figures ranging from lily-licking bull-dyke Jewesses like Gertrude Stein to decadent National Socialist poets like Gottfried Benn, the tragic Judaic philosopher was apparently once described by Adolf Hitler during a 1941 conversation with Henry Picker in the Wolf’s Lair in the following fashion: “This destructive role of the Jew has in a way a providential explanation. If nature wanted the Jew to be the ferment that causes peoples to decay, thus providing these peoples with an opportunity for a healthy reaction, in that case people like St. Paul and Trotsky are, from our point of view, the most valuable. By the fact of their presence, they provoke the defensive reaction of the attacked organism. Dietrich Eckart once told me that in all his life he had known just one good Jew: Otto Weininger, who killed himself on the day when he realized that the Jew lives upon the decay of peoples.” Undoubtedly, Weininger is a rare case of a Jew whose radical rejection of his own people and religion was innately intertwined with both his intricate personal Weltanschauung and rejection of life, with his suicide being arguably the truest form of post-religious Jewish transcendence and spiritual rebirth. In fact, the exquisitely ethno-masochistic philosopher even converted to Protestantism about a year before his suicide in what seemed like a failed last ditch effort to shed his inner Jew and become a noble Christian Aryan.

Of course, this conversion was a failure as Weininger soon committed self-slaughter by shooting himself in the heart in the same exact room where his Aryan hero Beethoven died 76 years earlier, yet he still received a Christian burial, with his tombstone fittingly reading : “This stone marks the resting place of a young man whose spirit found no peace in this world. When he had delivered the message of his soul, he could no longer remain among the living. he betook himself to the place of death of one of the greatest of all men, the Schwarzspanierhaus in Vienna, and there destroyed his mortal body.”  Whether his intention or not, Weininger picked a quite auspicious time to commit suicide, as his self-ordained premature death and the strangely poetic circumstances surrounding it made him a cause célèbre in the German-speaking world to the point where he inspired numerous copycat suicides and his timeless tome Sex and Character, which was initially poorly received, finally achieved the critical acclaim it deserved.  A true martyr of modernity who argued that men—be they Jew or Aryan—should completely emancipate themselves from the spiritual plagues of Judaism and femaleness, Weininger might be described as the purest and most authentic of philosophers as it can be easily argued that his suicide was merely an full-fledged execution of his philosophy.  Indeed, quite unlike the countless culturally corrosive Judaic thinkers ranging from Marx to Derrida to Adorno that have contaminated the Occident with carefully calculated deceptions, pathological anti-European iconoclasm, culture-distorting, and asininely abstract word games, Weininger actually believed what he wrote, hence his tragic yet seemingly inevitable fate.

 Needless to say, both of the films about Weininger are rather dark and forlorn as cinematic works that quite predictably conclude with the protagonist killing himself, but the most recent, Nagler's The Sex of Self-Hatred, is easily the most eerie and ethereally esoteric, as if the director was attempting to assemble a neo-Expressionist obituary to be played on a loop at the philosopher's graveside so that people might be able understand why a young Jewish bachelor with a very potentially intellectually prodigious career ahead of him decided to off himself while he was at the height of his intellectual prowess. The second film in the highly self-consciously Jewish director's ‘Jewish elegies’ triptych (which also includes Perhaps/We (2003) and Fugue Nefesh (2007)), the 9-minute 16mm short is like an aesthetically acidic marriage between German Expressionism, the pseudo-Fidus-esque Zionist eugenic art of Ephraim Moses Lilien, kosher counterculture poet Ira Cohen’s experimental psychedelic film The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda (1968), and the savagely nightmarish Figurative paintings of Irish-born Brit Francis Bacon. Ostensibly set mostly in the dark and dreary Vienna room where Beethoven had kicked the bucket about three generations before, The Sex of Self-Hatred begins simply enough with the rather revealing quote “self hatred is the best foundation for self examination” and might be described as a sort of celluloid Judaic purgatory where one very lonely and fiercely forsaken Jew's all-consuming guilt, paranoia, and self-loathing reaches its zenith and erupts into a sort of morbidly morose act of self-martyrdom, with the singularly provocative philosopher both literally and figuratively sacrificing himself for his own ideals via an irreparable gesture that would ultimately determine his fate as both a man and philosopher. 

 Like a humorless Hebrew Guy Maddin or an all the more macabre Judaic Deco Dawson, Nagler is a Canadian experimental filmmaker that seems to reject most modern filmmaking technology and techniques and instead uses archaic and anachronistic filmmaking methods that make it seemingly possible to tell when his films were actually made.  Thankfully, Nagler's quixotically quaint cinematic techniques are put to rather effective use in The Sex of Self-Hatred which, at least in my less than humble opinion, is easily the director's most accomplished and immaculate film to date. Indeed, to the film's great credit, one can almost delude themselves into believing that it was actually made in 1903, with the actor playing Weininger even bearing a strikingly resemblance to the (in)famous self-loathing Jew who developed the theory that Jewishness and femininity were one and the same. Like Manker's Weininger flick, Nagler's film alludes to the philosopher's rather intricate form of self-hatred by featuring a post-suicide drag king Weininger. In fact, right after Weininger blows his brains out (indeed, although the real Weininger committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart, he shoots himself in the head in Nagler's film in a fictional scenario that points to the philosopher's great mental suffering), he is depicted lying on the ground with bare tits, as if the philosopher's suicide really was an attempt to rid himself of both his Jewishness and femininity, or as contemporary self-loathing Jew Gilad Atzmon once speculated in his essay ‘Sex and Anti Semitism,’ “Otto Weininger was just twenty-three when he committed suicide.  One may wonder how he knew so much about women.  Why did he hate them so?  How did he know so much about Jews, and why did he hate them so?  The answer can be elicited from Weininger's thoughts, though not from his own words.  He hated women and Jews because he was a woman and a Jew.  He adored Aryan masculinity because he probably lacked that quality in any significant amount in his own being.  This revelation probably led Weininger to kill himself, just a month after the publication of his book.  Very likely, he had managed to understand what his book was all about.”

To Weininger's credit, his writings do hint that he was well aware of his intrinsic lack of Aryan manhood, which is especially apparent in the following excerpt from Sex and Character, “We do not hate anything with which we have no affinity at all. Often the other person only makes us realize the ugly and mean features we have in ourselves. This explains why the most rabid anti-Semites are found among the Jews. For only the completely Jewish Jews, like the totally Aryan Aryans, have no antisemitic disposition whatsoever.” While Weininger once wrote, “The real Jew, like a real woman, lives only within his species, and not as an individual,” he would unequivocally demonstrate with his self-slaughter that he was innately individualistic and hardly a passive follower of an ancient death cult that strives towards mindless collectivism, in-group self-worship, and ethnic chauvinism above all else.  After all, women commit suicide on a much smaller scale than men and when they do get the gall to kill themselves they very rarely do it in a violent fashion that involves using a gun.

 One of the more bizarre aspects of Weininger’s internal struggle that is subtly alluded to in The Sex of Self-Hatred is that, towards the end of his life, he had an unhealthy obsession with a barking dog. Indeed, according to friend Arthur Gerber, Weininger once confessed to him: “I spent a night in a hotel room in Munich once. I could not sleep. Then I heard a barking dog. I have never hard a dog bark in such a terrifying way. It must have been a black dog. It was the evil spirit. I fought with it, I fought with it for my soul. In sheer terror I bit the sheets to shreds that night. Since that time I have known that I am a murderer. That is why I must kill myself!” In fact, the dog began to symbolize death for Weininger, which is apparent in some of his writings. Notably, a barking dog can be heard in Nagler's film just before Weininger collapses and prepares to put a bullet in his brain, as if a hound of hell has commanded the philosopher to seek self-obliteration. As Weininger wrote in his rather bizarre essay The Dog, “The eye of the dog irresistibly evokes the impression that the dog has lost something: it speaks of him (as does the dog's whole bearing) of a certain mysterious relationship to the past. What it has lost is the I, self worth, freedom...The dog has a remarkably deep connection to death.” Of course, Weininger is speaking of the dog’s deracination and domestication by humans, but one suspects that he is projecting his own feelings as an involuntary member of the perennially uprooted and abstract Jewish (anti)race. Indeed, no other race is more uprooted, cultureless, and abstracted than the Hebraic race and Weininger—a man with a distinctly Aryan education who was heavily influenced by the völkisch writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain—was certainly more aware of this than anyone else.  In a sense, one could argue that Weininger’s writings were the equivalent of the dog’s bark. 

 In less than ten minutes, Nagler’s film more or less attempts to do what Manker’s Weininger's Last Night attempted in 105 minutes, albeit in a less personalized and more esoteric, Expressionistic, and even cabbalistic fashion. At the beginning of the film, we see Weininger in a rather dark and dreary room featuring a desk with a menorah with lit candles and a large open Talmud, as if to allude that the philosopher was never far from his ancestral religion, especially when he was trapped in his deepest and darkest of thoughts. By the end of the film, Weininger has killed himself, the menorah candles have been burned out, and the Talmud is shut, thus alluding to the fact that the only way that he could truly destroy his Jewishness was by destroying himself (after all, as the famous Jewish saying goes, “Once a Jew, always a Jew”).  Not surprisingly, especially considering Jews do not believe in an afterlife, suicide is considered a major sin in the Talmud as indicated by the following excerpt: “For him who takes his own life with full knowledge of his action [the Hebrew word is b'daat] no rites are to be observed. . .There is to be no rending of clothes and no eulogy. But people should line up for him [at the end of the burial ceremony] and the mourner's blessing should be recited [as the family passes through] out of respect for the living. The general rule is: Whatever rites are [normally] performed for the benefit of the survivors should be observed; whatever is [normally] done out of respect for the dead should not be observed.”

In one of the film’s more striking and eerily erotic scenes, the viewer is exposed to a naked green-skinned Jewess lying in a tree whose rather shiny unclad body is covered in Tefillin straps as if they were bondage. Of course, these is a rare scenario of  celluloid Hebraic hereticism as Tefillin (aka ‘phylacteries,’ which translates from Ancient Greek to “to guard, protect”) are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah that are worn by religiously observant male Jews during weekday morning prayers and hardly objects that should be wrapped around busty unclad babes sitting in trees.  By featuring a scene with a Hebraic harlot with nice tits covered in a religious object that is strictly worn by Jewish males, Nagler is probably alluding to the inherent misogynistic traditions of Judaism and how Weininger might have, somewhat ironically, inherited some of his attitudes regarding women from his ancestral faith.  While his Hebrewess goddess would probably be somewhat alluring to most heterosexual males, Weininger would clearly be horrified by this lecherous lady who seems like she might suffer from vagina dentata.

Notably, in Midrash in Ecclesiastes Rabbah it states: “When God created the first man he took him and showed him all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him, ‘See my works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are. And everything that I created, I created it for you. Be careful not to spoil or destroy my world–for if you do, there will be nobody after you to repair it.’” Of course, what better way to destroy God’s creation than to have a seemingly lecherous Hebraic hoe lying on it in an erotically inviting fashion?! On a more simple level, this scene seems to be symbolic of Weininger’s association of Judaism with his own supposedly warped sexuality, with the philosopher being just as repulsed with the obscenely outmoded dualistic laws of his ancestral faith as the scent of warm wet kosher cunts. 

 As auteur Nagler noted on his website in regard to The Sex of Self-Hatred, “It's 1903, and Otto Weininger, Vienna's most infamous self-hating Jew has decided to kill himself in a room containing Beethoven's deathbed. He has just published his first book Sex and Character, and has yet to witness an acknowledgment of his self-assured genius.” Somewhat ironically, Weininger believed Jews were incapable of genius. Additionally, Weininger’s philosophical disciple Ludwig Wittgenstein, himself a self-loathing Viennese Israelite, once wrote, “Amongst Jews ‘genius’ is found only in the holy man. Even the greatest of Jewish tinkers is no more than talented. (Myself for instance.) I think there is some truth in my idea that I really only think reproductively. I don’t believe I have ever invented a line of thinking.” Of course, in a sense, Weininger was a sort of Hebraic holy man trapped in an innately Aryan world that he never could really be a member of, no matter how desperately he tried. Notably, in the second book of his two-volume magnum opus Der Untergang des Abendlandes (1918-1922) aka The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler—a Prussian nationalist of sorts that also heavily influenced Wittgenstein—was careful to separate Weininger from the tradition of Occidental philosophy and instead designated him as one of the three great saints of Jewish mysticism following Baruch Spinoza and Baal Shem. Indeed, as Spengler provocatively wrote, “…Otto Weininger, whose moral dualism is a purely Magian conception and whose death in a spiritual struggle of essentially Magian experience is one of the noblest spectacles ever presented by a Late religiousness. Something of the sort Russians may be able to experience, but neither the Classical nor the Faustian soul is capable of it.” Aside from Spengler, fellow German Conservative Revolutionary movement figure Gottfried Benn—an Expressionistic poet that once supported but was later persecuted by the Third Reich—regarded Weininger as one of the three Jewish figures that he recognized as true geniuses.  To put Benn's respect for Weininger in perspective, it should be noted that he saw Franz Kafka as merely a “talent of the first order” as opposed to a true literary genius.

 After watching The Sex of Self-Hatred, I have to say that it is probably impossible to fully appreciate the film if you are not already familiar with Weininger's writings and lonely and pathetic yet nonetheless rather remarkable and singular life. Somewhat fittingly, the film concludes with the Weininger quote, “Whoever detests the Jewish disposition detest it foremost with himself,” which hints that Nagler believes that there is something innately Hebraic about Weininger’s kosher brand of antisemitism. While Weininger was indubitably the most famous and intellectually gifted of the so-called self-loathing Jews of his time (in fact, his case has been studied by various Jewish thinkers ranging from philosopher Theodor Lessing to child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim), he certainly was not the only Jew that suffered from a sort of spiritually schizophrenic metaphysical affliction.  According to Israeli journalist Amos Elon in regard to Sex and Character's ultimate influence, “(Weininger's) book inspired the typical Viennese adage that anti-Semitism did not really get serious until it was taken up by Jews.” Indeed, Viennese Jew Arthur Trebitsch (1880-1927)—the son of a wealthy Jewish silk industrialist—was heavily influenced by Weininger’s writings and he would eventually help to set up and fund the Austrian branch of the National Socialist party during the early 1920s. Despite his glaringly Jewish background, Trebitsch was apparently temporarily considered for the role of the Führer of the Austrian Nazis and he was even a personal acquaintance of both Hitler and his junky poet mentor Dietrich Eckart (who was also heavily influenced by Weininger).  Additionally, great Austrian Jewish satirist Karl Kraus—a man that is sometimes described as the H.L. Mencken of the German language—was oftentimes described as a self-loathing Jew due to his attacks on Zionism and Freud and psychoanalysis (which he more or less regarded as a pseudo-scientific form of Judaism), among other things (somewhat ironically, Kraus oftentimes described Zionist founder Theodor Herzl as an “anti-Semite of Jewish origin,” which was actually a phrase Herzl coined in his revolutionary work Der Judenstaat (1896) aka The Jewish State).  Although not necessarily a self-loathing Yid, Italian-Jewish philosopher Carlo Michelstädter (3 June 1887 – 17 October 1910) followed Weininger’s lead by penning his sole tome La persuasione e la rettorica (1910) aka Persuasion and Rhetoric, which is more or less an absurdly arcane suicide letter disguised as a philosophical tome, and then subsequently killing himself before he could see how his work would be received.  Notably, like Weininger, Michelstädter committed suicide when he was only 23 years old. Incidentally, also like Weininger, Michelstädter would have a huge influence on self-described “super-Fascist” Julius Evola, who cites both tragic Judaic philosophers a number of times in his imperative work Il Cammino del Cinabro (1963) aka The Path of Cinnabar: An Intellectual Autobiography

 If Spengler was right in his belief that Weininger’s life and writings are not something that the Aryan mind can completely grasp, one suspects that the same can probably be said of The Sex of Self-Hatred. Of course, Nagler’s use of Hebrew and Jewish mysticism confirm that the auteur did not intend to make a film that would be accessible to the wretched goyim. If one thing is for sure, the film, which is practically dripping with the gash gravy of a wayward Jewess in certain parts, indubitably affirms Weininger’s posthumously published aphorism, “Science is asexual because it absorbs; the artist is sexual, because he emanates.” Quite ironically, Nagler's film also brings great credence to Weininger’s theory that Jewishness and femininity are one and the same and that both women and Jews are more or less sex personified and lack the capacity for true individualism and transcendence, or as the philosopher wrote, “Both the genuine Jew and the genuine Women live only in the species, not as individualities.” Indeed, as virtually every notable Jew from Freud and his fellow Hebraic psychoanalysts to the hack writers and directors of the most loathsome of kosher Hollywood comedies demonstrate, Jews see all human psychology as being solely guided by sexual impulses and nothing more, which is quite ironical when one considers Weininger’s rather wise words that, “The Jew is always more lecherous, more lustful, than the Aryan man, although, strangely enough and possibly in connection with the fact that he is not really of an anti-moral disposition, he is less sexually potent and certainly less capable of any great lust than the latter.” While surprisingly respectful to its subject in many ways, The Sex of Self-Hatred falls into Weininger’s philosophical trap in regard the innately sexually degenerate and effeminate nature of the Jew, but then again that was probably Nagler’s objective, as if he wanted to proudly embrace the stereotype of Judaic androgyny and frivolous sexual obsession that the Sex and Character condemns. In other words, Weininger’s idea of Hebraic hell is Nagler’s vision of heaven. 

 Notably, in the chapter entitled “Judaism” in his magnum opus Sex and Character, Weininger eerily noted regarding to the increasing degeneracy of his age, “Our present age shows Judaism at the highest peak it has climbed since the days of Herod. The spirit of modernity is Jewish, wherever one looks at it. Sexuality is affirmed and today’s species ethic sings the wedding hymn to sexual intercourse […] women and Jews are matchmakers: their aim is to make humanity guilty. Our age is not only the most Jewish, but also the most effeminate of all ages; an age in which art only provides a sudarium for its moods and which has derived the artistic urge in humans from the games played by animals; an age of the most credulous anarchism, an age without any appreciation of the state and law, an age of species ethic, an age of the shallowest of all imaginable interpretations of history (historical materialism), an age of capitalism and Marxism, an age for which history, life, science, everything, has become nothing but economics and technology; an age that has declared genius to be a form of madness, but which no longer has one great artist or one great philosopher, an age that is most devoid of originality, but which chases most frantically after originality; an age that has replaced the idea of virginity with the cult of the demivierge. This age also has the distinction of being the first to have not only affirmed and worshiped sexual intercourse, but to have practically made it a duty, not as a way of achieving oblivion, as the Romans or Greeks did in their bacchanals, but in order to find itself and to give its own dreariness a meaning.” Of course, with the destruction of all of the great Western European empires as a result of both World Wars, the dubious official recognition of the State of Israel in 1948, and malignant cultural hegemony of virtually the entire world via Hebraic Hollywood and Zio-American warmongering, things have gotten much worse than Weininger could have ever dreamed of.  While The Sex of Self-Hatred demonstrates in a fittingly preternaturally elegant fashion that Weininger was a severely mentally disturbed individual that suffered from a perverse pathological fear of pussy, he was also one of the most daring and painfully honest Judaic thinkers who has ever lived as a rather rare intellectual who was almost Christlike in terms of his arguable willingness to sacrifice his life to overcome his Jewishness (notably, shortly before he died, Weininger somewhat strangely wrote, “The old man is a false eternity: age.  The good(and the true and the beautiful) is eternally young.  That was also what Wagner knew as his own incompleteness; he was Wotan.  Siegfried and Parsifal have not yet appeared.  The completely good man (Jesus) has to die young.”).

As the above quote from Sex and Character also proves, Weininger was alarmingly prophetic to the point where one suspects that one of the reasons he committed suicide was because he could not bear to see where the world was headed.  Indeed, it is a true sign that we live in (pre)apocalyptic times when a modern-day Sodom known as Hollywood regularly defecates out films where grotesque overweight heebs like Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill Feldstein discuss important things like their friends' cocks and scheme to find ridiculously craven means to get in the unkosher panties of unwitting drunken blonde shiksa skanks.  Of course, a world as culturally corrosive and decidedly degrading as the one where sapless scatological schmucks like Rogen and Feldstein are famous could not produce a Weininger, thus underscoring the importance of a film like The Sex of Self-Hatred where a genius of the past is given new life in an era when his theories are needed most.

-Ty E

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